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â€śAgainst the Grainâ€ť has a two-fold meaning, both of them relating to our spiritual growth. First, we want to challenge you to live against the grain of this fallen world - and thatâ€™s where the subtitle comes in. Vanity Fair is the name of the entertainment-mad, pleasure-driven city depicted in John Bunyanâ€™s Christian Classic Pilgrimâ€™s Progress. Could it be that Mr. Bunyan was envisioning our fair city, the city of Los Angeles? During our own pilgrim journey toward the Celestial City, we want to cut a path through the enticements of the culture and defy its encroachment into our church.
Second, â€śAgainst the Grainâ€ť has everything to do with your personal fight against the fallen nature, the temptation to follow the path of least resistance. Jesus said, â€śIf anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Meâ€ť (Luke 9:23). As our pastor, John MacArthur has so often said, following Christ is the end of self. You must go against the grain of what comes easy, laboring to walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh.